United States of Al, Season 2 Episode 12 Review - Poker


When Al (Adhir Kalyan) gets hooked playing poker, he reasons that it's a game of skill, not gambling which is "haram" - forbidden by Islamic law. Soon the entire family is involved trying to break Al of his addiction.

This was a fun episode that returns to what the show does best - the buddy-bro relationship between Al and Riley (Parker Young). Al had watched Riley and his fellow Marines play poker many times back in Afghanistan, so he was familiar with poker tactics, particularly bluffing.  And while Riley initially is happy to lead him to temptation with a visit to a casino, it's also Riley's determination which helps to break his friend of his new gambling bug. There's even a fun if too short fantasy sequence of Al in Las Vegas.

The B story in this episode finds Lizzie (Elizabeth Alderfer) on a date with Al's professor (John Ross Bowie). She isn't quite comfortable dating yet, admitting that she is still grieving over the loss of her husband three years ago. But the professor reassures her that he is "the most patient man in the world."  There's obviously more to come as that relationship develops.

Overall a solid episode that should help to grow USofAl's steady audience.


Harrison Cheung is the author of the award-winning biography of Christian Bale (BenBella Books) and a contributor to Brave New Hollywood and The TV Ratings Guide.

@harrisonic (Twitter)


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